Snapshot Serengeti Talk

Some Season 4 observations

  • horkusone by horkusone

    Just wondering if anyone else has noticed a couple of things about this most recent season. Surprisingly, I am finding it is a bit different from the previous ones - at least for me.

    I am finding that there are a lot more photos that are "nothing here" classification. I would say that it has more than doubled from what I was finding before. I can tell the grass is much higher in a lot of them than usual and no doubt that has something to do with it but there are plenty of open range shots with no discernible reason for the photo.

    I am also seeing a increase in one picture classifications. As is typical, they are mostly at night but I am just curious as to why there would be more of these. I don't mind them although if there is something in the frame to identify, it is so much easier to figure out difficult shapes when you have the benefit of movement too.

    Another thing that I really find pretty fascinating is that I am seeing a large increase in the number of young animals in the 4th season. In the ones before, it was more the exception rather than the rule for me to see a young wildebeest or zebra. Now it seems that they are everywhere! I am guessing the time of year matters but perhaps the areas where the pictures are taken matters as well. It might even speak directly to the object of this project - how these animals are choosing where to go with relation to the presence of danger.

    Finally, so few gazelles to see! One thing I had come to rely on was the enormous amount of gazelles that I would see and now... not so much. In fact, the overall variety of animals seems to have changed and is far more limited now. Is that just my imagination?

    Any feedback is great!


  • kosmala by kosmala scientist

    It's not your imagination. There are several things different about Season 4:

    1. more "nothing here": a lot of this has to do with the tall grass, I believe. But we were able to cull a couple of "bad" rolls (SD-card full) from Seasons 1-3 that had thousands of "nothing here" pictures on it due to a faulty or banged-up camera. Because Season 4 had not been seen before, you guys are getting all the images, including the ones from the damaged cameras.

    2. one picture classifications: I've also noticed more daytime one-picture capture sets; I don't know what the reason for that is, but I suspect faulty cameras. I don't know why it would be higher in Season 4.

    3. more young animals: yep! That has to do with the time of year. Season 4 spans the 2012 wet season when the million+ migratory wildebeest and zebra come out onto the plains, and go through our camera trap grid in the process. So you're seeing a lot more wildebeest and zebra than you did before. (Season 2 was also wet season, but I think mix of images from Seasons 1 and 3 diluted the wildebeest and zebra a bit.) In addition, the wildebeest all give birth en mass, usually sometime in February. And many of the other animals also have skewed birthing patterns toward the rainy season when the grass is fresh and nutritious for pregnancy and lactation.

    4. change of location?: There are some new camera trap locations introduced in Season 4, but they're still in the camera trap grid, so no, the location hasn't changed.

    5. fewer gazelle: I think you're seeing fewer gazelle because of the enormous increase in wildebeest and zebra. But one of our research questions is to look at what happens to the resident gazelle that stay in the area year-round when the wildebeest migration comes through. So stay tuned; we might have something more interesting to say about this in a bit.


  • horkusone by horkusone

    Thank you SO much for all the info. And I think you are correct about the tall grass = "nothing here" theory. I have almost missed animals because of the incredible cover/camouflage that the grass provides. Considering that I only realized that today, I probably missed quite a few of them before (ugh) so I am looking very hard and carefully now.

    Again, thanks a bunch. This is such a fascinating project!


  • Veegee by Veegee

    I am finding a lot more Impalas in season 4, all over the place, and as indicated, agree I see more babies, but still not as many as one might expect, and a lot more Hartebeest, they seem to love resting by one or two of the cameras! I also find a lot more 'nothing there' photos due to the tall grasses, and most of the one shot ones seem to be at nite and I usually can't see anything in the photos.


  • horkusone by horkusone

    Yes on the Impalas too. And it would be really funny if those Hartebeest shots resting were all the same guy. Haha. I swear I have seen a dozen different "versions" of it.


  • grosbeak by grosbeak in response to horkusone's comment.

    Same here!. Terrific number of impalas, somewhat fewer gazelles, and one hartebeast that must have stood in front of the camera for hours!. I keep getting pictures of the back of his head.


  • dms246 by dms246 moderator in response to grosbeak's comment.

    Heheh! I keep getting pictures of his private parts. 😕 😄


  • AowlanCrystal by AowlanCrystal moderator

    I kept getting that Hartebeests privates too, and a good number of male Wildebeest and a few Zebra males shall I put it as: 'airing' themselves. and to top it off an Elephant 'airing' his 'other' trunk, and then a trio of Buffalo, 2 mating and one watching! I think I got more than my share of these shots!! LOL I got hardly any of the Lion kill, so as they say 'luck' or the draw, or unlucky depends on your view!! LOL 😄 :p


  • Ingootje by Ingootje

    Most of the time it is hartebeest showing his parts or only his head. I wonder if someone looked where these where. If they are in the same location it might be one and the same
    Beside that I've seen more warthogs in this season. And we had the fire.
    And probably a jackal chasing zebra's. You tell me.